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Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales Announces New Efforts to Combat Violent Crime
New Initiatives Focus Resources on Federal, State and Local Partnerships
WASHINGTON – Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales today unveiled new
Department of Justice efforts to assist federal, state and local law
in combating violent crime. Part of the Department’s Initiative for Safer
Communities, today’s announcement calls for more prosecutors, new training,
additional funds, enhanced prevention efforts and a crack down against
most violent offenders.
is hard to hope, and it is hard to pursue your dreams, if you live in fear
grow up in a neighborhood that is weighed down by gangs and violent crime,”
Attorney General Gonzales. “Since each community faces unique challenges
when it comes to violent crime, partnerships among local law enforcement and
community groups that tailor answers to that community are critical. The
government can, however, offer some unique assistance. Today, I am calling
a refocus and an increase in intensity of violent-crime-fighting efforts at
the federal level.”
crime rates are historically low in America, certain types of violent crime
increased in 2005 in some cities across the nation. In fall 2006, Attorney
General Gonzales launched the Initiative for Safer Communities to
these recent increases and devise solutions to help communities struggling
violent crime. Department of Justice officials visited 18 metropolitan
areas. Many of the jurisdictions visited by Department officials
increases in homicide or robbery rates in recent years, while others
decreases. Although many of these problems can only be solved through
the attention of state legislatures, city councils, state and local law
agencies and the leadership of local officials, the Department of Justice
an important role to play in helping state and local governments fight crime
in their communities.
new efforts to combat violent crime build upon this formula for success,
partnerships among federal, state and local law enforcement, as well as
leaders, while targeting the “worst of the worst” offenders across
the nation. These new initiatives will complement the Department’s
existing efforts, such as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and
Violent Crime Impact Teams, FBI’s Safe Streets task forces and National
Gang Intelligence Center, the U.S. Marshals Service’s (USMS) Regional
Fugitive Task Forces and district fugitive task forces, the Criminal
national Gang Targeting, Enforcement & Coordination Center (GangTECC),
Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), and the anti-gang strategies that are already in
in each judicial district across the country.
new initiatives focus on the three primary areas: expanding current federal
law enforcement efforts that target gang violence and criminal misuse of
providing assistance to state and local law enforcement who are the primary
responders for violent crime; and working with Congress to strengthen laws
increase penalties for violent crime offenders.
EXPANDING FEDERAL LAW ENFORCEMENT EFFORTS:
Federal agents and prosecutors have a strong track record of identifying
whose crimes are appropriate for federal prosecution, and successfully
apprehending and bringing these individuals to justice. U.S. Attorneys’
and Department law enforcement agencies throughout the country have
leveraged the assets of the federal system by concentrating their violent
investigative and prosecutorial efforts on the most serious violent
in their jurisdictions, and today’s announcements reinforce that strategy
and provide resources to support it.
- Today, Attorney General Gonzales directed all federal prosecutors and
law enforcement components to work with state and local law
and prosecutors to identify violent crime cases that can
be most effectively prosecuted in the federal system. Often, these cases
will focus on the “worst of the worst” violent offenders.
these “worst of the worst” offenders will ensure that violent
individuals who post the most significant danger to our communities are
with the most effective and vigorous prosecutorial tools available.
- To support this effort, the Department is in the process of
at least 70 prosecutors, enabling our U.S. Attorney’s Offices
to increase their efforts to prosecute violent crime.
- All Justice Department law enforcement agencies will develop and launch
a new series of coordinated takedowns and fugitive sweeps aimed at
the maximum number of violent offenders from some of America’s most
vulnerable communities. Specifically, federal law enforcement
will conduct these coordinated fugitive sweeps and takedowns in six
cities this calendar year. The goal for these six additional
operations will be both to remove the maximum number of violent offenders
and to develop a tough new law enforcement model that can be used to
and reduce violent crime across the country.
- USMS will conduct a Fugitive Safe Surrender program in at least
three additional cities this calendar year. Fugitive Safe
is a powerful new initiative that encourages persons wanted for felony
misdemeanor crimes to voluntarily surrender to the law in a neutral
Authorized by Congress in July 2006, the Marshals Service has recently
successful operations in Cleveland, Phoenix, and Indianapolis, resulting
in the surrender of more than 2,600 individuals, including over 700
for felony warrants.
- ATF will expand the “Don’t Lie for the Other Guy” program,
developed in partnership with the National Shooting Sports
educate federal firearms licensees (FFLs) on how to detect and deter
purchases,” enhance our partnership with FFLs to prevent and deter
these illegal purchases, and educate the public that engaging in straw
is illegal under federal law.
- ATF will also expand their Violent Crime Impact Team (VCIT)
has already targeted crime in 25 cities to include five additional cities
in the next year.
- The FBI in 2007 has expanded its Violent Gang and Violent Crime
Safe Streets Task Forces to seven additional locations,
the total number of Safe Streets Task Forces to 176, and will add at
two more by the end of the year.
PROVIDING ASSISTANCE TO STATE AND LOCAL LAW
brave men and women of state and local law enforcement are the primary
to violent crime in their communities. Building on the expertise of state
and local law enforcement, today’s announcement will also provide additional
funding, assistance and training to law enforcement officers and other local
partners across the nation.
- The Department is making $125 million available to State and local
and law enforcement to prevent and control crime, and support the
of justice. A particular focus of this grant program is to support law
enforcement task forces. Task forces–made up of veteran local
law enforcement, working with federal law enforcement–can speed relief
to those communities experiencing an increase in violent crime.
- The Department will distribute over $18 million in grant funds
among the 94 federal judicial districts to support PSN efforts to
and prevent criminal misuse of firearms. The Department
is also providing an additional $31 million to support
PSN efforts to combat gang violence nationwide. This funding
is in addition to the $2.5 million in grant funding announced by the
General in April 2007 to each of the new Comprehensive Anti-Gang
sites: Indianapolis, Oklahoma City, Rochester and Raleigh/Durham.
- The Department will provide comprehensive anti-gang training
state and local law enforcement and other partners around the nation.
training program represents the first time all components within the
of Justice, including the ATF, DEA, FBI, USMS, Office of Justice
Criminal Division, U.S. Attorneys Offices, and the Bureau of Prisons,
will deliver a coordinated, single anti-gang training curriculum to
and local law enforcement focusing on prevention, enforcement and
- The Department of Justice will offer expanded gun and gang
reduction training and technical assistance for state and local law
and community partners through Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN).
2001, the national PSN training and technical assistance partners have
trained more than 30,000 individuals across the nation who work to
our communities safer. Training will include on-site assistance
on topics such as crime and violence prevention strategies, gang and
crime enforcement and prosecution, engaging the community to help
and solve crimes, and assisting offenders in returning to the
STRENGTHENING THE LAWS AND INCREASING FUNDING:
addition to our increased law enforcement efforts and assistance to state
locals, the Department of Justice is committed to working closely with
to strengthen our laws and provide the necessary assistance to law
around the nation who are on the front lines in the fight against violent
- The Department’s FY 2008 budget request includes $200 million for
Violent Crime Reduction Partnership grants and over $13 million for
violent-crime-related enhancements that will support the Department’s
Project Safe Neighborhoods enforcement efforts, increase the
ability to target firearms traffickers, and increase the prosecution of
gangs and violent criminals.
- The Department will work with Congress on developing a new crime bill
that will amend and strengthen existing laws to ensure that federal law
enforcement agencies are able to successfully investigate and prosecute
many types of violent crime.